As the issue of Drogheda’s parking problems came to the fore this week, Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood asked if Louth County Council was serious about tackling the issue.
Wheelchair users took to social media with pictures of inconsiderate car drivers parking on footpaths in Drogheda forcing them to abandon their journeys and return to their homes.
Cllr. Flood said “In 2016, following my motion regarding car-parking, it was agreed during the ensuing discussion that Drogheda’s Councillors would meet with Louth County Council officials to discuss ways of tackling the parking problems facing the town.”
The meeting took place on 27th January 2017 in Fair Street Council Building.
“I and all the councillors present raised a number of issues and offered possible solutions to car parking in various parts of the town. Among the issues raised were the lack of park and ride facilities in the town and we also queried the millions of euro spent in the past for car parking facilities that have never materialised.”
Cllr Flood went on to say “Since then, despite repeated queries to the same Louth County Council Officials, not a single query has been answered and there has been no action taken on parking. I have asked for a further meeting to tackle the parking issue but again, no date has been forthcoming. The issue of parking in the estates surrounding Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital was raised at that meeting and because of Louth County Councils inaction, this week we have seen Drogheda residents who use wheelchairs not being able to get to where they need to be in the town.”
“I am repeating my statement from the beginning of the year that there cannot be a piecemeal approach to Drogheda’s parking problems anymore. Drogheda’s residents and visitors need to know that our parking problems can and will be resolved, but to do that we need Louth County Council to start taking this issue seriously.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has reacted angrily to the decision taken by the Chief Executive of Louth County Council to cut Drogheda’s Municipal district funding from €75,000 to just €60,000.
Cllr. Flood said “The Chief Executive stated that she took this decision because Councillors did not agree to increase the Local Property Tax (LPT) this year and she needed to balance the books. This is news to us.
“At the LPT Meeting the Chief Executive said she was seeking an increase in LPT to put it into the counties roads. We all know that hundreds of millions of our road taxes have been ploughed into the failed entity that is Irish Water instead of being spent on our roads. At no point was it stated that a consequence of not agreeing to a tax increase would mean a decrease in Drogheda’s Budget.”
Cllr Flood explained that “Councillors are excluded from formulating the budget. Not even the Economic Special Policy Committee has any meaningful input into the budgetary process. Yet, we are expected to rubber stamp any budget that is put before us without complaint.
“I have stated it before and I will state it again, that must change!
“The funding made available for each district, meagre as it is, has been used by councillors to fund various groups and projects throughout Drogheda. For the last two years the Sinn Féin team have pooled our allocations to make Drogheda a more disability friendly town. This year we have helped fund various local groups and charities. Now our ability to assist Drogheda’s Groups and Infrastructure has been curtailed by an unfair and arbitrary decision taken by the Chief Executive.
“With Drogheda’s exclusion from the living cities initiative, and the inexplicable overlooking of Drogheda in the Draft National Planning Framework this reduction of the meagre funding made available to us is just another slap in the face.”
Finally Cllr Flood said “we did not accept the Chief Executive’s position on our budget and made our position clear to her. Drogheda councillors have actually passed a motion calling for an increase in our budget and we will continue to push for this right up until 20th of November when the Chief Executive will present the annual budget for Louth.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth/East Meath Imelda Munster has welcomed the completion of the refurbishment works in Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre.
Deputy Munster said:
“The centre has been completely ungraded following fire damage in December 2016 to a fully modern state of the art Primary Care Centre to meet the needs of the local community.”
“It is understood that the refurbished Primary Care Centre will be staffed by two Primary Care Teams comprising of Public Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, and other supporting healthcare professionals. The Public Health Nursing service based in the Primary Care Centre is expected to continue to provide a wide range of services to the centre’s users including a very valuable Tissue Viability Service.”
“It is my understanding that the HSE intend to have Ballsgrove Primary Care Centre the main hub for the delivery of its Immunisation Programme for South Louth with Senior Area Medical Officers based on site.”
“The restoration of this facility to the local community is very welcome and I wish all involved continued success.”
Following a decision by Louth County Council officials to cease collection of plastics at Bring Centres across the county in July, Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne brought an emergency motion to the monthly meeting that month asking that “Louth County Council reverse their decision to cease collecting plastics from their bring banks, effective immediately.”
Her motion was unanimously supported by all the Councillors present from all parties. Almost all the councillors spoke on the issue, raising their concerns and questioning the logic behind the decision..
Following the passing of the motion, Chief Executive Joan Martin said “I have listened to the members and took on board their points but as of now I am not prepared to reverse the decision.”
Bring Banks overflowing with plastic bottles 1 week after the decision
Since then there has been public outrage at the axing of this vital service and an increase in illegal dumping so Louth Sinn Féin and Cllr Joanna Byrne have launched an online petition to highlight the want and the need to reinstate this service, for the people of the County.
Back in July Cllr Joanna Byrne said “we are told to recycle, we are encouraged to recycle and now Louth County Council place obstacles in the way of recycling plastic. We are told that it costs €136,000 pa for this service and people should recycle ‘responsibly’. Surely that’s what people are trying to do by bringing their plastics to the bring banks.”
This service was temporarily reinstated following the Water Crisis a few weeks later and again at that time Cllr Byrne contacted the Chief Executive and asked that it be made a permanent decision, to no avail.
Now is the time to stand up and let your voice be heard – Like, Share and Sign this petition !!!
Please find the link below, it will also be found on any of our Reps Social Media channels.
Sinn Fein Louth County Councillor Antóin Watters has described Fianna Fail Councillor Emma Coffey’s call for a “hard border” after Brexit as “short sighted and a surrender to the threat posed by the British government’s Brexit plans.”
Councillor Watters said:
“The consensus position among parties in the Dáil, and in the North, is for the minimum disruption possible to the two economies on the island of Ireland, and especially to the border counties, as a result of Brexit. Most support the north being designated a special status within the EU to facilitate this.
“The Fianna Fáil Councillor appears to have accepted that the efforts of her own party and of the rest of us will fail. Her stance reflects a recent call by Fianna Fáil for an electronic border similar to the toll system operating on the M50. In the event of the border becoming an EU international border this proposal has already been rubbished as insufficient.
“Her approach is also hugely contradictory. Having pointed out the difficulty in monitoring 500 km of border and hundreds of roads, and acknowledged the thousands who cross the border every day as workers or tourists or to visit family, Councillor Coffey demands that we should accept the need for a hard border.
“Any EU frontier on the island of Ireland would be a backward step and no self-respecting politician who claims to want a united Ireland or to be called a republican should be advocating such an outcome.
“What is required is a political and not an electronic solution to Brexit and certainly not a hard border.”